Pictured on the left in the photo above is former Notre Dame star wide receiver Jeff Samardzija who made baseball his sport of choice professionally after being picked in the 5th round of the 2006 draft. Samardzija appears to have been one of the aggressors in yesterday’s bench clearing brawl, and he was not even part of the Giants team 3 years ago when Hunter Strickland was victimized by Bryce Harper for his second home run in 2 at-bats at the hands of Strickland. While most players were staying out of it like Buster Posey or acting as peace keepers like Michael Morse who was a former teammate of Harper’s, why did Samardzija feel the need to bull rush aggressively at Harper?
Tonight, Samaradzija is the scheduled starting pitcher if he is healthy enough to go. There is no statistical indication that Harper has torched Samardzija like he had Strickland. It becomes part of the subplot for tonight’s game with the hopes that Samardzija does not come inside on Harper or any Nats player.
Maybe Samardzija is personally frustrated as he is having the worst season of his NL career as a full-time player. He has struggled to a 4.50 ERA. His home ERA has been slightly better at 3.95 this season, but it’s a mixed bag of stats as his home WHIP is higher and his K/9 and BB/K are much lower.
There is a previously scheduled tribute tonight to the living legend Willie Mays that should be the focus, but brawls have a carry-over for the TV ratings. If you watch the television broadcast on the ESPN feed tonight, they will be doing 24 ways to remember Willie Mays. ESPN will also do an in-game interview with the former Giants Hall-of-Famer.
Gio Gonzalez is the starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals tonight. Last night Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy put three lefties at the top of his line-up to try to take advantage of Tanner Roark and that did not work out too well for the Giants as that trio only went 2-9 against Roark. Bochy could line-up right-handed batters against Gonzalez tonight
Speaking of match-ups, Samardzija has dominated Ryan Zimmerman in his career like no other pitcher has with at least 8 times facing him except for Kyle Hendricks. The sample sizes aren’t huge, but they are based on trends over the years. While Adam Lind would be the logical fill-in if Zimmerman sat, Lind is hitless against Samardzija with a 66.7% K rate and his stats are worse. Do you go with Wilmer Difo or Stephen Drew at 2nd base and shift Daniel Murphy over to 1st base tonight? Don’t expect it, but Zimmerman’s last rest day was on May 26th. Zim just had his best offensive day yesterday in weeks.
Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants
Stadium: AT&T Park San Francisco, California
1st Pitch: 10:15 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, ESPN, NBC Bay Area, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner SS
- Jayson Werth LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Gio Gonzalez LHP